College football spring games are fun for a lot of reasons. You get to watch your favorite sport for the first time in months, can see a glimpse of what your team has next season, and sometimes get a feel for how a new head coach works.
But a lot of other times, especially in recent years, it’s a chance to give back and let fans of teams with illnesses or disabilities share in the spotlight and score some heartwarming touchdowns.
There have been some awesome ones in 2018 already.
In Norman, James Woods scored a touchdown during the Sooners’ spring game. Woods is a 15-year-old patient at an OU children’s hospital who has a brain tumor that prohibits him from playing sports. Look how much he lit up with this score!
Per Crimson and Cream Machine, this was put on by Special Spectators, which hosts VIP all-access sports experiences for kids suffering from serious illness.
Also this year, Rutgers gave five-year-old Mordecai Carthy, a fan battling with autism, a special day by letting him score a touchdown during its spring game. What’s even cooler is that his 93-yard score was the longest touchdown in Rutgers spring game history!
There have been some pretty awesome moments in the past, too.
In 2013, Jack Hoffman, who is 12 years old and was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer at age five, got to score a touchdown during Nebraska’s spring game:
His special relationship with Nebraska started in 2013, when he developed a friendship with Corn Huskers running back Rex Burkhead:
Five years ago this spring, a friendship between Burkhead, then a Nebraska running back, and Jack led to a moment at the Cornhuskers’ Red-White game that made the youngster an overnight celebrity. His 69-yard touchdown run electrified Memorial Stadium and brought awareness nationally to pediatric brain cancer
In 2017, Ohio State let Jacob Jarvis, who has muscular dystrophy, score a touchdown:
Baylor staffer Clint Lewis, who has Down Syndrome but has been working for the team since 1995, scored a touchdown in 2017 during the Bears’ spring game:
According to ESPN.com, Lewis scored his final touchdown with the song “Jump Around” by House of Pain coming through the speakers. The entire Bears team joined him on the field to celebrate, too.
“That’s a wonderful moment for Clint,” Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said via ESPN. “It wasn’t like we practiced that. I was really excited to see how much that really meant to our players. They kept dancing and dancing with him. It’s special when you know how much that person has given to you.”
Lewis also leads the team out on the field for each home game, too!
Leah Still, the daughter of former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, scored a touchdown during Temple’s spring game a few year’s ago.
And Canaan Sandy, a lifelong Razorbacks fan who has Down Syndrome, got to score a touchdown for the Hogs in 2014:
Spring games are so awesome for moments just like these.
How can these not make you smile? Got any more moments you liked that I missed? Drop ‘em in the comments section below!